If you have always wanted to visit France, but you loath the unpredictable European climate, do not worry there is a piece of this fabulous country in the southwest Pacific Ocean.
Roxana, who wrote this post as a guest author of our blog, is as travel mad as we are. Enjoy her travel insight from New Caledonia.
The dazzling archipelago is a perfect mix of French charm and Melanesian authenticity, which makes it a must on everyone’s travel bucket list. This fragile world untouched by mass tourism is ideal for exploring and enjoying in. There is simply so much to see and do when visiting this sublime archipelago, that you could easily miss something extraordinary. Since it is impossible to see everything, especially if you want to have time to relax, here are some things you must see.
New Caledonia is not just about the turquoise and azure waters, it is also a home to many important historic sites. One of the most famous is the Fort Téremba. It was built in the distant 1871, and was originally meant to keep convicts which were building roads in this area. When the local Kanaks revolted, several years after, the fort was strengthened and later abandoned. Its restoration started in 1984, and currently it is classified as a historical monument.
Chapelle Notre Dame de Lourdes
Just like Paris, right? You will find this small, yet beautiful chapel near Easo. To see it, you will have to go up to the hill, but the view when you get there will justify all your efforts. This chapel also has a special and far reaching history. It was built in 1898 upon the arrival of the first Christian missionaries in 1858. On the roof of the chapel there is a Notre Dame de Lourdes statue, which makes you admire the construction and the dedicated people who carried the cement up the hill in 1898.
The Forgotten Coast (La Côte Oubliée)
One of the most distinctive areas in New Caledonia is the coast that everyone forgotten, except the tourists. La Côte Oubliée is a part of almost all New Caledonia travel packages, but you can only access it by sea or air. The completely untouched coast can be easily reached by kayak, but a regular boat is also an option. Usually, the route involves visiting some fascinating islands of the archipelago, such as Amedee Lighthouse Island, Duck Island and Ilot Maitre, that you probably would not otherwise have a chance to set foot on.
Le Parc des Grandes Fougères
Located in the mountains above Farino, this 4500-hectare park is the proof that Mother Nature is the greatest artist of them all. Rich and varied flora and fauna of this tropical rainforest, especially the breathtaking tree ferns, will dazzle any visitor. Le Parc des Grandes Fougères is home to endemic birdlife (the imperial pigeon, white-bellied goshawk, cloven-feathered dove, etc.), so consider packing a telephoto or a zoom lens for your camera, to successfully capture the beauty of these amazing birds.
Parc Provincial de la Rivière Bleue
Another astonishing nature site in New Caledonia, Blue River Park is a mixture of dense rainforest and scrub vegetation. It is also the home of many bird species, such as the kagu. Other endemic and rare animals in the park are notou, New Caledonian crow, crow honeyeater and crested gecko. Here is also the home of one of the largest trees in Caledonia – a thousand-year-old, forty-metre-tall Agathis lanceolata tree. The park offers many walks, and depending on the time (and strength) you have on your disposal, you can choose a trail ranging from 30 minutes to 6 hours.
People, Culture, Food
Although the nature in New Caledonia is amazing, what makes this archipelago so appealing are its people, culture, cuisine and atmosphere. The New Caledonia Museum and the Tjibaou Cultural Centre will provide you the desired culture fix, but the best way to get to know the culture is to meet people. Visit Le Marché (the market in Noumea) and experience the delightful scents of fresh-baked bread and cakes and the jolly crowd dancing with the live music (on Saturday and Sunday). Get a taste of Caledonian cuisine – prawns, lobsters, salads of raw fish marinated in lime juice, etc.
Enjoy, discover and capture the beauty with your camera and mind.
About the author:
Roxana is a travel enthusiast and lifestyle consultant from Sydney and she loves to write about her adventures. She is all about the healthy lifestyle, loves to run with her husband and dogs and has fun cooking exotic meals for her family. Being a typical Aussie, she often hits the waves and loves beaches and sunshine! You can find out more about her writing following her on twitter @oliver_roxana and on her own blog Highstylife
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